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Hotel Pyrgos Mystras Sparta
Pyrgos of Mystras lies beneath the Byzantine city of Mystras outside of Sparta
Pyrgos of Mystras lies beneath the Byzantine city of Mystras outside of Sparta

It was getting late, and Basil and I knew we would not finish our work in Sparta before the office closed. Weighing the choice of driving back to Athens versus overnighting in Laconia somewhere, we both agreed that it made sense to find ourselves a bed locally.  Of course, after a few years in our accidental hospitality business, we both dreaded a night at one of the truly “Spartan” concrete box hotels that lined the main street in Sparta. Remembering some signs I had seen along the road coming into town, we headed out on the road toward Mystras, the Byzantine city and Unesco World Heritage Site about 7 km outside of Sparti. The signs were generic, PYRGOS OF MYSTRAS, appearing at regular intervals along the road, with little indication of the hotel that stood at the end of our journey.  Approaching the village of Mystras, the signs lead us up a curvy narrow road, twisting and turning once or twice before we stood in front of a lovely stone building, lit from below, with large and lovely imposing wooden doors. Although it wasn’t late, night had fallen somewhat early for Greece, it was later September already.  Not knowing what lay behind the doors, Basil hopped out of the car and went inside. Scruffy and I waited in the car for what seemed like an eternity. When he returned, calling Scruffy outside, by his side was Maria, the manager of this small Laconian guesthouse, leaning into the car and greeting us with a warm friendly smile.  Excitedly Basil encouraged me inside, and despite his huge smile I was still taken aback by the guesthouse as I entered the obviously lovingly restored former home of a local physician.  From the courtyard adjacent to the dining area, to each of the seven individually decorated guestrooms, no detail has been spared in this hideaway just a few hours from downtown Athens.  Lovely murals adorn the walls of the dining area, where a scrumptous morning meal is served – complete with homemade baked treats – good enough for us to try to convince the woman on duty that morning, also the baker, to consider packaging them for guests to take along  as they explore Laconia, Monemvassia, local wineries and even Ancient Olympia from the quite mountain village of Mystras. Pyrgos of Mystras is also a perfect weekend escape for those who want to do no more than curl up in the garden with a book, wander the village streets and perhaps explore the monastaries of the ancient Byzantine city of Mistras. In fact, it is such a little slice of peaceful heaven that even those who come only to use it as a base best be forewarned … you will not want to leave.

Visit their website at, tell Maria that Scruffy sent you! 

By Athensguide

How does a little girl from Skokie, Illinois find herself in historical Athens, leading curious explorers through the winding streets of Plaka, down "pezodromos" to hidden ouzeries for tempting mezedhes and homemade barrel wine? The journey began more than twenty years ago, and regardless of whether the wanderlust comes from the spiritual and culture DNA flowing through my veins, or the alignment of the stars on that cold mid-December day this Sagitterian came into the world, I never seem to tire of exploring my adopted homeland of Greece. Here you'll join me as I explore Athens: be it the back streets of Psirri and Gazi, or through the National Gardens and Zappeio where a family of turtles makes their home, or down wide, treelined Imittou Street in Pagrati, which pulses with Athenian life 24 hours a day. And while Athens has stolen my heart, the rest of Greece vies for my curiousity and wanderlust. My two guys (that'd be the Greek God, Vasilis and our Greek dog, Scruffy) and I can often be found settling in for a long weekend in some charming mountain village, or a quaint fishing port on a nearby island, or learning how Greek vitners are producing wines that rival some of Napa Valley's finests productions, or celebrating a panayeri in Epirus or sharing in the festivities as a family of Cretan sheepherders come together to sheer their 1500 sheep in the spring ... And if you happen to find yourself heading to Athens, consider finding yourself a real home for your stay. Living amongst the locals, be it for 3 nights or 3 weeks, will offer you the chance to experience true Athens, beyond the Acropolis. Choose from one of our 5 beautiful penthouse and historical homes, and who knows, I may be leading you down that winding "pezodromo" to our favorite hidden ouzerie!